What percentage, what sector of society is currently reached by our approach to Christianity? Will this percentage increase or decrease in the coming years?
I see the emergent church movement as a searching, as a way of both catching up with the way the language of our culture is changing and anticipating the way it will change. I think it's an effort to make Christianity relevant in our current world, not only as a way to reach more of those around us, but also as a way to make spirituality more reachable for those among us, those who are living in this changing culture.
There are struggles, of course. It's a struggle to hold on to eternal truth as part of a culture that views truth differently than we have learned to view it. The sifting process, the discovery of what needs to be held on to and what needs to be rejected, is a painful one. Being human, we won't always arrive at the correct answers.
One thing that's surprised me about this movement, btw, is the way that the leaders are holding on to old forms and finding ways to make the forms relevant in the changing culture.
One reason, I think, that this is all been so controversial is the fear of losing core doctrinal truths. This is understandable. I don't know that it's an either/or proposition, though. A second reason is that how much we are to engage our culture is an open question. I do think of Paul's words about being all things to all men, and I look at the way Jesus in his teaching and Paul and the others in their writing approached people where they were, in their culture, and while I see a separation as far as holiness is concerned, I do see a recognition that even followers of Christ live in a certain culture and a certain time.
Me, I'm just a modern who is enough of a child of the sixties that I grew up believing that questioning everything was a good idea. I haven't read all that's come before on this thread because of my current vision problems (I hope to have the new specs in the next day or two), and dont' know how relevant I'm being to the discussion, but these are my thoughts.
I think it's too early to judge a movement that is only just beginning (and seems to me to have a lot to offer.)